HMRC is warning against giving personal details or clicking links in messages apparently sent from the department as a coronavirus scam email is spreading.
As the number of infections continues to rise in the UK, fraudsters have adapted phishing emails in an attempt to lure the vulnerable with the promise of a tax refund from HMRC.
The email says the government has announced a "new tax refund programme" to deal with the outbreak. "You are eligible to get a tax refund (rebate) of 128.34 GBP," it adds.
If someone emails or calls you claiming to be from HMRC saying that you are owed a tax refund, and asks you to click on a link or to give information such as your name, credit card or bank details, it's a scam"
According to the scam, the precaution measure was established "in cooperation with National Insurance and National Health Services". It then asks for victims to share their name, address, phone number, mother's maiden name and bank card number.
HMRC said such scams often target the elderly, using a well-known brand to dress up their claims. "If someone emails or calls you claiming to be from HMRC saying that you are owed a tax refund, and asks you to click on a link or to give information such as your name, credit card or bank details, it's a scam," said the UK tax office.
A checklist sent by HMRC says a genuine message from the department would not contact someone out of the blue asking for bank details or passwords, and that suspicious emails can be forwarded to [email protected].
The World Health Organisation has also issued guidance over coronavirus-related phishing attempts.